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Douglas Development has big plans for the Hecht Company warehouse development it’s bringing to New York Avenue NE in Ivy City, but up to now it’s lacked one crucial component: tenants. Douglas is seeking tenants for the 500,000 square feet of office space it’s putting into the old Art Deco warehouse, and the company’s executives recently returned from a trip to a retail convention in Las Vegas to try to bring retailers to several large adjacent spaces on the site.
Now the development has its first tenant: Mom’s Organic Market. The organic grocery store, with 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, will open its first D.C. store at the Hecht’s site.
Douglas’ construction chief, Paul Millstein, says Douglas and Hecht’s are in the process of completing the paperwork, but that it’s essentially a done deal.
“Mom’s is coming to Hecht’s,” Millstein says.
The addition of Mom’s helps dispel two questions that have hung around the site: whether it would be able to attract any quality retailers at all, and whether that retail would include neighborhood-serving businesses—-like grocery stores—-rather than just big-box stores serving commuters from Maryland. But given that Ivy City’s median household income is just $23,700, there’s likely to be some concern about the extent to which an organic market can really cater to its immediate neighbors—-and the extent to which those neighbors can support it.
The late Yes! Organic Market in Fairlawn is a potential warning story for the new Mom’s, having closed down amid heavy losses before reopening as a conventional grocery store. But Mom’s claims to have “the lowest price of any natural food store,” and this store has a more accessible location than the Fairlawn Yes!, so it may be in a better position to do business.